Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs, are commonly prescribed to patients with conditions that cause chronic pain, such as arthritis. They’re available over-the-counter, but may also be prescribed in stronger formulations. Any medicine, available with or without a prescription, has the potential to cause side effects. You can speak with a doctor at MountainView Hospital to find out if NSAIDs might be safe for you to use on a long-term basis.
How NSAIDs work to manage pain
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are a class of medications. There are many types of NSAIDs, but they all work by inhibiting prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are compounds that influence inflammation and pain.
By suppressing the actions of the prostaglandins, NSAIDs can reduce inflammation and pain throughout the body.
When NSAIDs may cause health complications
Some experts have expressed concerns over the possible link between NSAID usage and cardiovascular events, like heart attack and stroke. And in fact, over a decade ago, one NSAID was removed from the market because of its possible role in causing heart attack and stroke.
Only a physician can provide patient-specific health guidance. However, it’s likely that for most people, NSAIDs are generally safe for use on an occasional basis. Physicians are most concerned with patients who take NSAIDs on a daily basis because of chronic pain.
Which risk factors to consider
If you do take NSAIDs on a regular basis, consider speaking with your physician about the possibility of complications. Your doctor will evaluate your other risk factors of heart attack and stroke. These include:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Poor diet
- Prior history of stroke or heart attack
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
The risk of heart attack and stroke may be greater in patients who have one or more of those risk factors, and who also use NSAIDs on a daily basis.
If you think you could be suffering a stroke or heart attack, you should immediately call 911 to request emergency care. MountainView Hospital is an accredited Chest Pain Center—a designation that reflects our commitment to bringing our patients the latest medical technology and most effective techniques. General healthcare questions may be directed to a registered nurse in Las Vegas, available at (702) 962-5021.